The Safe Drinking Water program, under the Bureau of Environmental Coastal Quality, has received national recognition for their data quality collection.
BECQ administrator Frank Rabauliman said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the Safe Drinking water program with “most improved award” for data quality collection.
The branch earned the highest honors with the “platinum award.”
Rabauliman said the exciting thing about the award is that “out of all the states and territories,” he said, one branch bested the rest to get the award.
“We have a branch that manages safe drinking water. In the mainland, you would think a “department” of safe drinking water—they have more resources. So I was ecstatic when I heard,” the administrator said.
The Safe Drinking Water and Ground Water Management Programs monitors the activities of all public water systems in the CNMI and regulates access to and withdrawal of the ground water from fresh water aquifers.
The branch monitors these systems through the training, testing, and certification of water treatment plant operators, inspecting public water systems on a periodic basis, reviewing designs of new or modified public water systems, tracking the water monitoring and compliance activities of public water systems, and investigating drinking water violations and responding to drinking water complaints.
“It’s not only for the fact that we manage this data here and how we readily send it to EPA,” Rabauliman said. “But I think it’s how we work with the regulated community and how well they are informed of what the regulations are so we don’t get a lot of hits that there is enforcement here and enforcement there.
“[The award] has a lot to do also not just with us as the regulators but also the regulated community in understanding the importance of our safe drinking water,” he added.